Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 343

Young adult novel Everything, Everything (2015) by Nicola Yoon is such a provocative and sentimental piece that it is unsurprising that it was made into a film within a couple of years. The story follows Maddy Whittier, who has spent her entire 17 years living indoors due to severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Maddy lives with her mother, Pauline, and interacts only with her nurse Carla and Carla's daughter.

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Maddy sees Olly while his family moves in next door, and their attraction is sparked when they first make eye contact. Carla facilitates a meeting between them, and, later, Maddy even goes outside to meet him. The relationship is threatened when Maddy's mother finds out and forbids Maddy to see Olly again (and also fires Carla). However, the two continue to communicate, and they eventually plan to escape on a vacation to Hawaii (to which Olly agrees with the understanding that Maddy in on a medication that will overcome her illness and permit her to travel). Maddy does in fact become ill, but her treatment reveals that she does not have SCID, but that her mother invented this lie out of fear of losing Maddy, after her mother had already lost her husband (Maddy's father).

One of the themes addressed in the novel is social media's power to bring people together. Maddy and Olly get to know each other by means of text messaging—something that is a matter of course in today's society, but which has special import for this isolated couple.

A related theme is the trope of star-crossed lovers whose love is thwarted by circumstances. Maddy and Olly have unnatural barriers to their burgeoning teenage relationship and must both mature to a unique extent and overcome exceptional obstacles to be together as a couple.

A final theme is intimacy. The novel is told in the form of Maddy's diary, which affords the reader a strong perceived connection with this isolated young protagonist. Additionally, because Maddy has so few acquaintances, it is suggested that those with whom she is acquainted are especially close and precious.

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